Time and Effort

Guess what the meaning of Kung Fu is?  It means time and effort.

This month Ron turns 59 and we also celebrate our 28th year of marriage.  For all 28 years and 4 months (yes we only dated 4 short months), Ron has had a dream of becoming a black belt.  And, I learned from his family and friends when we went to California this past summer, this dream is something that Ron has held for as long as they can remember too.

When we were first married and we lived in Greensboro, NC, Ron dragged me to Tae Kwon Do with him.  We didn’t live in Greensboro long and we were young and just getting started in our careers.  Tae Kwon Do didn’t last.

Then when the girls were little, Ron dragged the whole family to Karate.  We all loved it.  Well mostly.  I’m not so sure about Andie.  But again, we were a young family and Ron had to work a huge amount of on-call shifts and overtime back in those days.  Karate didn’t last.

Next came a movie that I dragged Ron to last year.  The movie was Cowspiracy.  It was about how hard factory farming is on the environment and was sponsored by the Triangle Vegfest Community.  After the movie they gave out door prizes.  Ron and I didn’t win a single cookbook or vegetarian dinner out or any of the other amazing veggie prizes.  Then it came to the very last door prize.  It was for 1 month free at the Chines Shao-Lin Center.  You guessed it!  Ron won!  That prize had Ron’s name written all over it!  I knew before they called out the winner that it would be Ron!  I didn’t even have to look at our ticket numbers.

In Kung Fu, the instructor is called Sifu.  Our instructor is Sifu Mo Seyam and he happens to be vegan.  (hence the door prize at the Vegfest sponsored movie)


Ever since Ron started last year he has been bugging me to join him.  I kept telling him no.  I had my CrossFit and running and I just couldn’t do any more.

However, he didn’t give up.  Each time he progressed from one belt to the next he kept asking me when I was going to go to class with him.  Well as you all know, Ron loved running way before me.  But now, I love running the most.  Ron is such a trooper though and goes with me to all my races and has just as many medals on his medal hanger as I do.

melissas-medals   rons-medals

Since he is so good to me to keep running like he does, I decided that this year for Christmas, I would tell him that I’d start going to Tai Chi with him.  I wrote a pretty hand made card with those words on it and wrapped it up.  He was all smiles!

Well on New Year’s Eve this year I attended my first Tai Chi class with him.  Then he had me signed up for Kung Fu too before I could blink an eye.

We go on Tuesday and Thursday nights and then again on Saturday afternoon. On Tuesday and Thursday it’s just the Tai Chi and Kung Fu but on Saturday, Ron takes a class called Wooden Man as well.

Today was a big day at our school.  Every year the Elder Master travels from Colorado to each of the schools in our network around the country.  Today was our school’s turn.

Ron tested for Wooden Man and his Brown Belt and I tested for Yellow.   We both passed!  In our style of martial arts training, you can get to Brown Belt pretty quickly but there are 3 levels of Brown Belt.  It will probably be about 2 more years but with time and effort, Ron’s dream of becoming a Black Belt will hopefully be coming true.

I was a testing student today so I couldn’t get a lot of pictures.  When we were on a sort break, I got Ron to pose doing some of his Wooden Man moves.

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He really is amazing!  I am so impressed with his form.  Ron is a natural.

All the other students are great too and everyone is very friendly and supportive.  Kung Fu is so fun.  I am really excited about all the weapons that we will get to learn.  I got to see so many cool weapons in action today by the other students.  Some of them were the Monk’s staff, the broadsword, the spear, and nun chucks.  All I have learned so far are 4 staff spins but now that I’m yellow, I get to add nun chucks.

Next on the agenda is our one and only race that we have signed up for in 2016.  Ron and I are running the half marathon on March 6th in Chattanooga, TN.  I’ve been doing really good on my Tuesday and Thursday runs but my long runs on the weekend have been hit and miss.  I’m hoping to get a good 10 miles in tomorrow and then a 12 and another 10 over the next 2 weeks.  I’m also shooting to get some Iron Strength Workouts in.  Since I haven’t been going to CrossFit, this is crucial or I will lose everything that I have gained over the last year.  I’m writing it on my bathroom mirror  in a dry erase marker and making this solemn promise that I will do 3 Iron Strength Workouts for each of the next 4 weeks until Chattanooga.

Spend a little time and effort and cook for yourselves this week.  Spend some time on exercise.  Make an effort to be kind.

Ron carried a rock in his pocket for years that had the words Black Belt written on it.  Here’s wishing you have all the time you need to put the effort into your goals.  May all your dreams come true!




Last night was date night for Ron and me and we finally made it to a restaurant that has been recommended to me so many times over the last few years.  Irregardless.


It’s located just off Hillsborough Street in Raleigh near Charlie Goodnight’s Comedy Club.  The restaurant has convenient parking across the street in a gravel lot on the hill.

I loved everything about it from the moment we walked in!  The staff was so attentive and friendly!  We arrived a little before 6:00 on a Saturday night and there were only a few patrons.  Almost everyone that was dining was sitting outside and luckily there were a few tables left.  I adore al fresco dining!

20150502_175125Ron started with an IPA from Mother Earth Brewing and I got a pear martini.  Yummo.  I sipped on this one the entire time we were there.

This was the special menu that was offered in addition to their normal menu.


We both chose the vegan scallops and decided to share the arugula and goat cheese salad.

For starters, they gave us this little plate of bread and butter.


And here’s the salad!  I just love it when they half it for you and serve it on 2 plates when you are sharing.  It was AMAZING!


Here’s the “scallops.”


Divine!  The risotto was so creamy and flavorful and you could almost believe you were eating real scallops.  (We ate our flowers too.  Smile)

You know I can’t pass up dessert so I asked the server what her favorite was.  She told me the vegan cheesecake.


Very, very good.

Before we left I stepped inside and got a shot of the inside of the restaurant.  They had a live piano player and the tables had really filled up in the hour or so that we were there.


It was a little pricy there and our 2.5 entrees with 2 beers, 1 cocktail, and 1 dessert topped out at $88 bucks.  A quick doubling of the 10% for the tip made us just put down $105 bucks and call it a night.

As we were walking back to our car this chalkboard caught my eye from the business next door.  Made me smile.


The night was still so young and the weather so beautiful, we ended up at our favorite brewery in Clayton, Deep River.  They were supposed to have live music but I guess the artist was a no show.  Ron got a 4 pack of his favorite to take home.


Later that night Ron mentioned that we had eaten $100 bucks of mushrooms that evening and that we might better really focus on eating like my new book.  I’ve never laughed so hard in a very long time.  He really had me rolling.


Seriously though, I loved Irregardless and will love to go back.  It’s a special place and worth the splurge maybe once a year or so.

Speaking of how I’m eating lately, I told you I owed you a post.  For most of 2014, I ate a vegetarian diet.  I ate a little meat here and there when we were on vacation but mostly it was always vegetarian.  Honestly, for the past 5 years, I’ve been an on again off again veggie.  More on than off and the only thing that kept me from going vegan were the eggs that I get from my neighbor’s backyard chickens and the cheese that I end up eating at Mexican restaurants and when I have pizza.  I’m cool with no yogurt and no milk.  Almond milk is fine for me.  The cheese is my pitfall.

And it’s really crazy because I hate dairy farming the most of all.  I hate how they impregnate the cows over and over again and take their calves away from them so soon.  It breaks my heart.  Also, those dairy cows get so big they often can’t walk.  I’ve seen 2 movies and when they pick up the cows in the frontloaders to carry them away, I die.

I’m not proud to admit this but Ron talked me into trying the Whole 30 diet with him last month and for 26 days, I did eat meat.  On the Whole 30 all you can have is meat and veggies and limited fruits.  No sugar, breads, or grains.  I lost 7 lbs. very quickly and I did feel good.  Ethically, though, I felt horrible.

I recently saw the movie Cowspiracy and it was very different than Forks over Knives or other documentaries I’ve seen.

It focused on the environmental impact that factory farming has on the earth.    I really care about the environment and I am really trying to reduce, reuse, and recycle like crazy.  For me though, the treatment of the animals is my main concern.

Cowspiracy-Infographic (1)


Even though Ron eats a lot of vegan and veggie meals with me happily, I don’t see him giving up meat entirely.  Same for the rest of the family.  I cook a lot of meat for Andie, Jonathan, and Lydia.  I try to get grass fed beef and meat from small farms when I can.

I’ll give a a review of how I do on the new recipes in Vegan on the Cheap next week.  I’m excited!

Hoping to get some good runs in this week along with my 2 CrossFit nights.

Happy Week Ya’ll!

Our 6 Week Eat to Live Challenge Recap

On December 30th Ron and I embarked on a totally vegan diet. We used Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live book and website as a guide.

Here are the basics of the diet in a nutshell:

eat to live 3


I’ve dabbled in veganism before and made it about 2 weeks one time so I was no stranger to this at all. Also, I was completely vegetarian for 10 months back in late 2010 and into 2011 so I had plenty of confidence going into this challenge. (Note: Vegans have no animal products whatsoever. No milk, no cheese, no eggs, etc. Vegetarians have no flesh. They can have the dairy and the eggs.)

Weeks 1-3 were very good. We started off following the diet to a T and the weight slipped off very easily. We enjoyed trying all kinds on new recipes.

One of our favorites was the Creamy Cauliflower Soup.

creamy c. soup

I loved how creamy the cashews made it. I’ve read that cashews are great for lifting your mood and since I’ve had a lifelong battle with mild depression, I always look at this little nut as magic!

One of my least favorite recipes was this eggplant lasagna.


Ron put some ginger in it and didn’t dice it very fine. I got a big piece of ginger that put a bad taste in my mouth from the beginning. Not sure if I can ever love eggplant again.

Everything was going along very well but after a while, those huge salads 2 times a day started getting hard to do. They would fill me up so much that was all I was eating. That’s a good thing I know but as much as I love a delicious salad, sometimes you just want something hot. When I’d eat the salad at dinner, I couldn’t eat another bite. What I ended up doing was eating the cooked veggie creation first and then I wouldn’t have room for the salad. I promise you. 1 pound of raw veggies is a lot. And…it takes a long time to eat.

That’s the reason the salad at lunchtime started slipping away. I often eat at my desk at work and it just got too difficult and time consuming for me to eat the salad. At lunch, a hummus sandwich and a piece of fruit are about all I am interested in.

That’s were another trouble entered in. You are not supposed to eat between meals so if I did have a light lunch and skipped the filling salad, I would be famished by dinnertime.

Weeks 3-6 I stayed mostly all vegan but I veered far away from the 1 pound of raw and 1 pound of cooked veggies 2 times daily. Also during week 3-6 Ron and I started eating what I call vegan junk food. Get some fake chicken and smother it in an awesome buffalo sauce and you can have one heck of a delicious and satisfying dinner. Do this and I guarantee you won’t have room for the healthy raw veggies.

Out of the 126 meals (6 weeks x 7 days x 3 meals per day) 4 times I had a non-vegan component. First came a piece of my mother’s famous cornbread. All she had in it that was non-vegan was the buttermilk and then I did add some butter to the top. It was out of this world delicious. I didn’t feel bad at all about this.

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Second came some cheese on a wrap at Chick-fil-A. I got a chicken wrap and asked for the chicken on the side but I forgot about the cheese. (I gave the chicken to my daughter.) When I had the wrap in my hands, I saw the cheese but I ate it anyway. Didn’t feel too bad about this either. We were traveling and I did the best I could.

Third came a veggie hoagie from Jimmy Johns. I knew it had the cheese on it when I ordered it but I got it anyway. Man was that good! This was when I started feeling guilty. I didn’t need to eat the cheese. It was lunchtime at work and my boss had treated me to Jimmy Johns. Like I said, I knew it had the cheese and I ordered it anyway.

After 2 slip ups with cheese, I was driving home from work one night and I really cheated big time! I have to drive far distances 1 time per week and this occurred on a 3 hour trip home. I veered into Hardees. I have no idea why but I ordered a cheeseburger. And.a.milkshake!

So as you can guess, weeks 3-6 the weight loss really stalled. I don’t attribute it at all to those 2 times having cheese or even my big cheat meal at Hardees. What I attribute it to was the huge decrease in raw veggies. It could have been the handful of nuts I was having daily too. Also was probably the extra bread that kept slowly slipping back into my meals.



Ron ended up losing 10.8 pounds and I lost 9.6.

At the end of the 6 weeks, Ron went as fast as he could and bought some grass fed beef and other meats. He announced he was Paleo! What I am learning is that Paleo and Vegans are really very similar. Both advocate the importance of whole foods and to stay far away from anything processed. The biggest difference to me is the meat for Paleos and the beans and legume’s for vegans.

At the end of the 6 weeks I ate a whole sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints. I ate some of Ron’s delicious beef stews. Just a little but man were they delicious. My car veered into Cookout on one occasion. Pretty much, I ate anything and everything I wanted. Not very much meat at all but still it was not healthy.

After one week of debauchery, I had all I could take. I was feeling physically terrible. Back came the vegan lifestyle for me. This time I downloaded some recipes from the Happy Herbivore (HH) and in only 3 days, I had dropped the 2 pounds I had gained during my cheat week and also another 2.6 pounds! I am feeling great again!

What I am learning from the Happy Herbivore is that I really can’t have all the avocados and the nuts if I want to lose weight. Yes, they are very healthy fats but I just can’t have them if I want the scale to drop. Also a huge difference was in the first smoothie recipe I made from HH. I always put 1/3 cup of raw oats in my breakfast smoothies. HH called for 2 tablespoons of raw oats in my smoothie. Also, hummus and me are great pals. I can eat a ton of hummus if you let me.


HH called for ½ of bell pepper with only 2 tablespoons of hummus. Measure out 2 tablespoons of raw oats or hummus. I dare you. It is such a small amount! However, it really is enough. If you dip sparingly, you can have hummus on each bite you take of the pepper and your smoothie will be just as delicious and satisfying.

What are our long term plans? I have no idea. Ron is already complaining about feeling sluggish and about the huge increase in the amount of money he is spending on the meats. He says he wants to try Happy Herbivore when we get back from vacation.

What I do think that I am leaning toward are the famous words of Michael Pollen:

      eat food

Vacation begins for us tomorrow. We’re celebrating our 26th year of wedded bliss. I fully expect to have some cheese. I fully expect to have some desserts. I even know already that I’m having a famous chicken dish from the historic Chalet Suzanne Inn that we are staying in. My goal is to try to eat smaller meals for breakfast and lunch so I can splurge a little at dinner.

My plans for when we get back home and back to reality are to stay mostly vegan. The big thing for me that I’ve got to get away from is the wheat. My sister and nieces have been preaching to me the horrors of gluten and I’ve got to admit they may be on to something. Here’s a book that my sister recommended I read.

Grain Brain

Ron is even on board with the no wheat. When we go to Mexican restaurants he orders his veggie burritos without the flour tortilla and gets corn tortillas on the side.

Happy Eating. Happy Running. Happy Living to us all!

Eating to Live

It’s been well over a year and a half ago that I first read Eat to Live, by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.  Even so, I find myself returning to his philosophy again and again.  I really like everything about Eat to Live.  And now that the new year is just around the corner, it was quite natural for me to think of  trying to drop a few pounds.  Thinking of dieting and then thinking of Eat to Live made me decide to take the plunge.

I’m vegan again.


When I think of my friend Robin and her beautiful hens and all her wonderful eggs I really love omelets.

When I think of my sister Rosa and her husband William and their awesome salmon salads, I am perfectly ok with having salmon once and a while.

When I think of my dad and brothers and deer meat, I’m all about some venison chili.

When I think of my brother in law, Willis’ fish fries, I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.

You see, I’m fine with occasionally consuming animals.  The problem I run in to in my daily life is that if I’m walking around labeling myself a carnivore, it won’t be long before my car might veer into Cookout for a cheeseburger and milkshake.  It won’t be long before I’ll grab a Filet-o-Fish at McDonalds when one of my daughter’s ask me to stop by for them.  Heck, I might even get a Cajun Fillet Biscuit at Bo Jangles after work one night.

Even if I label myself a vegetarian, I’ll start to grab the Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer before you know it.

Vegan is the only label that keeps me safe.  If I say I’m vegan, I keep on the straight and narrow a lot better.  Does that make sense at all?  I hope so because I really am at a loss as to how to explain my food philosophy.  Embarrassed smile

Ok so now that the disclaimer is out of the way, let me get on to my first day of the 6 week Rapid Weight Loss Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live plan.

Ron and I stocked up at Whole Foods last night.  Here’s a shot of some of our loot.


This morning I had 1/2 cup of some awesome granola.  I put some frozen blueberries and almond milk in it.  I also had a small banana and half a cup of black coffee.

For lunch, it was a gorgeous salad.  Much prettier than this picture shows.


I used a raspberry balsamic vinegar as a dressing and it was perfect.

I also had a bowl of a GBombs soup that Ron made last night.

GBombs stands for Greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds.  This is the backbone of how to eat according to Dr. Fuhrman.



Ron took some kale, sprouted beans, onions, mushrooms, cashews, and goodness knows what else and created a delicious masterpiece.  He can’t tell me exactly what he did but I’m sure his recipe was similar to  this recipe.

I also had some grapes at lunch.  I was a little full but I ate them because even though fruits and veggies are unlimited, you are not supposed to eat between meals.

To be honest, I was pretty hungry when I got home from work.  I’ve learned a trick though and what I did was drink a cup of hot green tea.  I didn’t sweeten it with anything and I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy it.  Thankfully, it was delicious and just what I needed to get me through until dinner.

Dinner was another huge salad but we also had some roasted zucchini and carrots.  Ron and I dined on those while this awesome soup simmered.


After it simmered for 15 minutes, Ron took out 2/3 of the veggies and put them in the Vitamix with 1 cup of raw cashews.




Here’s the finished product.


It’s crazy how creamy and delicious it was and not a drop of milk was used.

Ron had 2 huge bowls but those salads fill me up so much I only had one.

A little while later I whirled up some frozen mangos and bananas with some unsweetened almond milk for this scrumptious sorbet.


I guess it looks a little like mashed potatoes however, I promise you, it was cold and sweet and just the right ending to my first day Eating to Live.

I’m excited to see how it goes for the next six weeks.

I’m also very excited that my friend Robin has invited me to do a 100 day running challenge beginning on January 1.  I’ve seen a lot of people doing this sort of thing and I’ve always been intrigued.  I guess I better rest up tomorrow and get ready to Run Run Run!

Happy Eating Friends!

Happy Running!

Eating Plants and Staying in Tents

And so we made our way to Plant.


Plant is an all vegan restaurant in Asheville, NC.  They are top rated so I was hoping we were in for a real treat.

We got there right at 5:00pm and they were just turning the sign in the window over from closed to open.

We were greeted and seated right away and the hostess was really sweet.  Even though we were the first ones in the restaurant on that Monday night, it still felt like the place was humming.  I liked the fact that the kitchen was right there out in the open.  I could tell the chefs were gearing up for a good night.

Ron found his way to the local micro brewed beers and I picked out this awesome appetizer for us.


It was their BLISTERED SHISHITO PEPPERS togarashi · Maldon salt with cream cheese, bacon, and focaccia toast.  Man oh man was this the bomb!  That cream cheese was so good and those peppers.  Wowzer!  They were pretty hot but manageable.  I think the “bacon” was some sort of mushrooms and they were good but I didn’t think they tasted like bacon at all.  Ron and I ate the bread pretty fast and ended up asking for more to help cool our mouths.  They charged an extra $1 for the extra bread but we didn’t mind one bit.  To be honest, I thought it was sort of silly of them to charge that when we had already ordered this appetizer, 2 entrees, and Ron was probably on his 2nd beer by this time.

Next came the main course.

Ron got RED CURRY TOFU jasmine rice & kaffir lime cakes · teriyaki broccoli & Thai basil ·  galangal-peanut curry · arugula.


And mine was JERK grilled tempeh · smashed sweet potatoes · sautéed collards · spicy serrano crudo · fried banana & Celtic salt.


I thought I liked Jerk but I had forgotten about the last time that I tried it.

Ron and I sampled each other’s dishes and we cleaned our plates but I’m sad to admit that these were really nothing special at all.  Filling.  Healthy.  Somewhat tasty.  But definitely not delicious.

Mine tasted a lot like my favorite Kashi meal and I liked it but honestly, Kashi is better.

Myan Harvest Bake

The best part about both entrées was Ron’s broccoli.  That was delicious!

I couldn’t believe it but when it was time for dessert, Ron ordered one.  He never does that!

Ron got the Cannolo handmade anise shell • candied orange ricotta • espresso puddle • mocha ice cream.


Mine was My Own Apple-Blackberry Pie flaky pastry · vanilla sugar ·  super vanilla ice cream · caramel.


Now these were great!  They really have the dessert making down.  Loved every single bite.

Plant was pretty pricey for my taste and the thing that I found the most unappealing was the atmosphere.  Our waitress was perfect.  She kept my water glass filled, kept our table clean, and was very polite.  I think that might have been it.  She was too perfect.  The whole place was too perfect for me.  I like a little wobble to my chair and I think I identify more with people who aren’t so perfect.  I like the ones that make mistakes and mess up on your order or the ones you have to flag down because they are joking with another table.    It might have been just an off night but Plant was as stuffy to me as this painting they had on display.


Plant was good and maybe some of their other entrées are better.   I don’t think I will go back though.

Fiction Kitchen here in Raleigh is 10 times better!

After dinner we headed to Yurtopia.


Sky Ridge Yurts are located at the top of Sky Ridge Drive in Bryson City, NC.  Just look at this awesome view!


This was our third visit to SRY and now we can say we have stayed in all three yurts.


The purple one on the left is called The Fontana and it has a full kitchen and a private master bedroom.

The green one on the right is the Tsali and it has 2 queen beds and an efficiency kitchen.

The green one in the back is The Nantahala and that’s the one we had this time.  It has a king bed.


SRY is owned and operated by my niece and namesake.  I might be just a bit biased but honestly these yurts are so special!

Here are some more shots of the interior of the one we stayed in this time.

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IMG_0725   IMG_0726

IMG_0730  Please check out her site for more beautiful pictures!

Sky Ridge provided a welcome retreat after our busy day of zip lining and travels.  The bed and pillows are so comfortable.  The bathroom!  Oh the bathroom!  That slate shower was amazing and isn’t that basin sink so adorable!?

The yurts have a great ceiling fan and are equipped with central air and heat.  We ran them both as it was a bit chilly in the mornings but the afternoons would heat up.

They also have Wi-Fi but I tried to stay unplugged as much as I could.  The satellite television was superb.  Ron and I sat in that chair made for 2 and enjoyed The Life of Pi on our 2nd night.

If you are looking for an out of the normal getaway, please give my niece a shout.  You will be so happy you did.

Next up are my reviews of the River’s End Restaurant, Cork and Bean (the best restaurant ever), Rolling Thunder Rafting, and the highlight of the trip for me, our day hike in the Smokies!

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Stay tuned….

I ran at lunch at work this week 2 times!  Woot woot!  Now on to some good long runs tomorrow and Sunday.  I might even squeeze in a 20 minute or so Cross Fit workout.  What are your exercise plans for the weekend?

Happy Happy Happy

Just popping in to say hi!  I feel so great and so productive.

I took Kitty to get her rabies shot today at the shelter.  (They were having a free event.)


Next, Ron, Lydia, and I went to Benson Park for a gorgeous 3 mile run.  (Lydia will not ever let me take pictures of us running.)

Then, we went to Remedy Diner for brunch.


Ron had “No Huevos” Rancheros.


And Lydia and I both had a Breakfast Burrito.


(We each order out own but I only snapped one picture as they were identical.)

As usual, Ron enjoyed some local beers for his treat and Lydia and I hit the vegan dessert menu.

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So papilla Cheesecake for Lyds and Peanut Chocolate Pie for me.

If you’ve never been to Remedy, you have to try it!

Now we’re off to REI.  Ron has a $48 dividend check and a 20% off coupon that is burning a hole in his pocket.

Happy Happy Happy!

“Missy! What do you eat?”

I traveled to Wise, VA this past weekend to spend some time with my mother and step-father.


On all my trips, I always call Mother when I get to Wytheville as that is about 2 hours away from Wise.  This gives her an idea of when to expect me.

When I called her on Saturday, the first words out of her mouth was, “Missy! What do you eat?”  She sounded so frustrated I simply answered that I mostly ate fruits and vegetables but that I would enjoy whatever she had in mind.

That made her happy and after we hung up, I realized just speaking those words made me happy too.

My friends, I have to report to you all that my veganism only lasted for 3 weeks.

Lydia does ok with my vegetarian meals most of the time but she was getting very frustrated too.  So, last week, I made her chicken spaghetti following The Pioneer Woman recipe.

She loved it.  And so did I.

After that one meal of meat and cheese, I ended up going back to more or less a vegetarian diet.  The yogurt and cheese proved to me to be very difficult to get away from.

I still feel very strongly that you can be a successful vegan athlete but what I discovered is that to be successful, you must plan, plan, plan, and more plan.

If you don’t have your meal ready to rock-n-roll, it is very hard to get a balanced diet.  I wasn’t prepared some days and a peanut butter sandwich was about all I could come up with.

I have 2 nieces that are big Paleo fans.  When I told one of them that I would never be convinced that good wholesome grains were bad for you she gave me this example:

What does a rancher feed his cows and pigs when he wants to fatten them up?  Grains!

I will give her that but I don’t think it is healthy to eat a lot of meat.

Another thing that happened that made me get to thinking was 2 weekends ago when I was at my sister’s, she had a huge piece of wild salmon.  She was cutting and wrapping it in small single serving size pieces.  She said she and her husband loved having salmon once or twice a week.  Sometimes on salads and sometimes just by itself served alongside a favorite vegetable.  I wanted salmon again too!

So, what I have decided for now anyway, is to make my plate as colorful and healthy as possible and ease up some on any set rules.

Now back to more of my weekend at my mother’s.


I went out for a run on both Saturday and Sunday while mother was taking a nap.  On my Sunday run, I picked her these flowers and as I ran I composed this little poem.

I picked some wildflowers for my mother,

who’s love for me is like no other.

I pray she doesn’t get a chigger,

for my love for her could be no bigger.

I know, I know.  Pretty bad.  But she liked it.  Smile

On my Saturday run I found these on the sidewalk in downtown Wise.


First person to correctly identify them gets nature expert bragging rights.

Here are a few more of the sights that I encountered on my runs:




IMAG0857                               IMAG0856


We had an awesome weekend.  Dinner with family.  Going to church together.  Just sitting and talking.  Watching family videos on the computer.


I love you Mother!  See you again soon.  Until then, keep singing this song.

“When He reaches out His Hand,
Billows cease at His command.
Winds and waves obey His will
When He says to them, “Be still!”
What man is this they all did say
Whom the wind and waves obey?
He’s the One who sails with me;
He’s the Master of the sea.”

Remedy for the Wednesday Night Blues

Tonight was date night!  Lydia was working at Bo Jangles so Ron and I slipped away to The Remedy Diner in downtown Raleigh.

It was SO good!

Ron’ started with a local IPA from The Aviator Brewery in Fuquay Varina.  We toured that brewery last year so Ron already knew he loved that one.


I tried this Ginger Ale.


Boy was it spicy!  We Googled Blenheim and learned that it is made on the grounds of the  famous South of The Border tourist attractions in Hamer, South Carolina.  I drank most of it but asked for a glass of water about half way through my meal.  Not sure why it is so spicy.  I guess it’s the ginger but it was more like jalapenos if you ask me.

I ordered the Eastern Carolina BBQ which was shredded vegan BBQ made from soy in a classic eastern NC vinegar based sauce and homemade cole-slaw.  They served it on a delicious Kaiser roll with kettle chips on the side.


Tasted just like real BBQ.  So delicious!

Ron mulled over the menu for the longest time but finally settled on his usual; the Veggie Reuben.  It was a marinated tempeh grilled on rye topped with avocado, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, dill pickles and melted Swiss cheese.  He chose to add a side salad.


Ron loved it.  He gave me a taste and I concur that it was scrumptious.

Another Aviator arrived and I got this shot of the other side of his glass.


For my poison, I chose the vegan sopapilla cheesecake.


No earthly idea how they made this vegan.  It was heavenly!

The Remedy Diner is located at 137 E. Hargett Street just down from the Marbles Museum.  There was plenty of parking on the street and we enjoyed the short walk in this beautiful Fall night air.  They have foods for everyone and have many vegetarian and vegan entrée’s to choose from.  The pricing was moderate but next time we go, we’re taking cash.  You can earn a $20 gift card after you spend $100 and pay in cash.  I’ve heard that it helps small businesses if you pay in cash because the credit card processing fees are so high these days.


Night all!

Getting to bed early so I can get my run in BEFORE work tomorrow.

Plan to be Kind

This wasn’t tonight’s dinner.  It was Tuesday’s but I’m just getting around to blogging about it.  Zucchini spaghetti is Lydia’s favorite and she had been asking me to make it for days.  This healthy meal is the very first vegetarian meal that I learned to cook.  My sister Rosa taught me and it is so easy and delicious.

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Put on your water to boil for your spaghetti.

Take one zucchini for each person that you are serving and run it through the shredder setting in your food processor.

Dice up one sweet onion and get it sweating in a large pan with some EVOO.  Use your garlic press and press in 2-3 cloves of garlic.  Let those cook a little and then dump in all your zucchini.

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Stir all around and make sure the zucchini is somewhat coated with the EVOO and the onions and garlic are all mixed around.  Put a lid on your pan and let it cook on medium low for about 10 minutes.  Just keep an eye on it.  You want it to reduce a little but not too much.

Add your noodles to the water.

By the time your pasta is ready the zucchini will be too.


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You can add parmesan cheese if you’d like.

I added some cannellini  beans for some extra protein.

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I also added a little Earth Balance for some added flavor.

On the running front, I had a great 5 miler tonight.  55 minutes!  So excited to see some faster times again.  I ran with my ipod and I think my awesome tunes helped me keep the pace up.  If there is a better trumpet solo out there than the one in Penny Lane, I need to be enlightened.  I just love that song!  I won’t mention the fact that this song is my second favorite and this one is a close third on my playlist.

I’ve been listening to Joyce Meyer and her daily devotions on my phone lately and the other day she was talking about the fruits of the Spirit.



She said we needed to be intentional about showing kindness.  I am very intentional about planning my running.  A day doesn’t go by without me planning when I’m going to get my run in.  I decided that I would plan to be kind as well.

My first thought was to take a fellow teammate a treat.  The print shop at Durham Tech has been crazy busy because of the beginning of school.  And I mean CRAZY busy.  Everyone that has been working there is worn slam out.  Just last week, I worked from 7am – 10pm hardly stopping for a break.  I can’t believe the machine took that kind of punishment.  Well, I had to stop by Durham Tech to take them some supplies last night and on my way there I stopped to get gas.  I went in and got 2 Vitamin Waters and 2 bags of kettle chips.  One for me and one as a surprise for the person that was working the late shift at Durham Tech.  She was so surprised and happy.  I’m going to start planning kindness every day.

Goodnight Friends!


Today’s recipe was Chickpea Fritters.  Ron was feeling more chipper today and helped me mix these up.

I found the recipe via No Meat Athlete, one our my favorite websites.  There aren’t many ingredients and all you do is mix them all up.  It said to refrigerate for 2 hours and then you could cut them into strips before frying.  We did put them in the fridge but they never really firmed up at all.  I ended up just forming them into small patties.

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Next you heat the oil in a skillet and fry them.  The recipe recommended EVOO but we used coconut oil.

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This is what they looked like in the frying pan.

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And now altogether with some mixed veggies.

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Ron loved his but this is one that I wasn’t crazy about.  They reminded me of potato pancakes.  What I can say for them is that they were very filling.  We ate not long after church today and I was satisfied the entire day.  It was close to 8:00pm before I was even thinking about eating again.

I’ve had a lot of fun showcasing these delicious vegan recipes and am ready to announce that as of 8-18-12, I am vegan.  I became a vegetarian on 8-18-10 but then veered away from it after 10 months.  After realizing that I felt the best in my life during those 10 months of vegetarianism, I converted back.  Now, I’m ready to take the next step.  I don’t think I’ll miss milk and eggs at all.  Cheese maybe.  However, with websites such as Oh She Glows and Peas and Thank You, I think I’ll do just fine.

I can’t wait to try this version of Mac and Cheese and these “cheese” stuffed bean burgers.

On the exercise front this week, I’ve got the super easy 5-5-6 in the run department.  What I’m really going to try to focus on are my non-running days.  Hoping to incorporate some kettlebells and some push-ups and sit-ups.

Have an awesome week!

I’ll say goodnight with my favorite quote from the weekend:

“The only thing greater than fear is hope.”  President Snow, The Hunger Games